Sunday, 24 May 2015

Going home

The Festival over for another year

Going home


For the Sydney Writers Festival session with Asne Seierstad regarding her book 'One of Us' about the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik I positioned myself near a television screen in order to have a better view of proceedings given that all the seats nearer the stage were occupied.

The screen shows the moderator and author being 'miked up' for the discussion. I'm seated behind an attractive woman wearing a striking top with a Freda Karhlo motif.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Don't rain on my festival

The only session I booked for today at the Sydney Writers Festival was Michael Frayn: On Fiction; a discussion with the playwright and author about his novels.

Taking our seats in the Roslyn Packer Theatre
It was a late afternoon session and very entertaining it was too.

Ending at 5.30pm I had thirty minutes before the nearby bus stops would be closed for the opening night of Vivid Light, Music and Ideas Festival commencing at 6pm. If I missed that cut off time I faced a long walk up town (or is it down town?) to the temporary bus terminals.

I reached the bus stop at 5.55pm just as the heavens opened with heavy rain. The last buses before the cut off were queued and in grid lock as the special road clearways and closures for Vivid came into effect.

The journey home was more than three times the usual duration. The combination of special event arrangements and rain combining to frustrate everyone.

Vivid is a terrific Festival but its impact on movement through and around the CBD is profound.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Today at the Sydney Writers Festival 2015.

Andrew Ford (extreme right) speaking about Elvis' Hips

Afternoon sun breaks through

Evening sessions

Evening jazz session

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Les Miserables

The third Australian season of 'Les Miserables' is playing in Sydney. This box office champion of a musical is still weaving its magic given that this season is now into its second year. The two earlier Australian seasons also ran for multiple years.

I had read that this reimagined staging of the musical is significantly different from the original stagings in particular through its use of screen projections. I was sceptical about meddling with a proven successful formula but now realise I underestimated the extent to which film is used to create imaginative atmosphere.

The projected images have been used brilliantly to support the live action and to suggest location and environment. I think this production with the projected images enhancing the physical settings is visually superior to the original which to my mind now seems quite minimalist by comparison.

Crucially in this production the performances of Simon Gleeson (Valjean) and Hayden Tee (Javert) are powerful. Both sing their roles strongly. Of the supporting soloists Kerrie Ann Greenland (Eponine) impressed me the most. The other soloists, to be honest, don't match the stellar performances of their counterparts in the previous Australian productions but they contribute effectively nonetheless. There are some impressive voices amongst the ensemble cast.

As a fan of this musical I didn't really expect this, at least fifth, viewing to be a fresh experience but to my delight that is how it felt this time around.